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HomeNewsArchivesGames, Music and Auction Draw Crowds For Montessori's Vegas Night

Games, Music and Auction Draw Crowds For Montessori's Vegas Night

Dec. 7, 2008 — Montessori School and International Academy hosted its 39th Annual Las Vegas Night over the weekend at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Hotel on St. Thomas, with this year's proceeds going not only toward scholarships but also to help build Montessori's new high school and international baccalaureate program.
From early Saturday evening to early Sunday morning, school supporters poured into the hotel to try their hand at the spread of craps, roulette, poker and other games, and placed their bids on a silent auction that offered everything from artwork to furniture.
"One of the things we've done over the years is have each class put together an art project that's auctioned off," said Peggy Hunt, the school's business director. "This is the 39th year we're having Las Vegas Night, and I haven't seen artwork this amazing yet. With the older kids — that's the 7th graders and up, our international academy students — we have an oil painting, and some of our first, second and third graders have done a floor mat, which is made out of canvas and painted with acrylic."
In past years, some of the students' artwork has sold for as high as $3,000, Hunt said.
"We have some pretty high bidding wars going on, and that's always the case when it comes to the things the students make," she said. "Sometimes it's between the parents, but sometimes it's between community members that have come out to support us and our wonderful school."
Last year the event pulled in more than $200,000 for the school. Parents and administrators are hoping for the same kind of success this year, as Montessori marks its 45th year by trying to open up an 11th and 12th grade.
"The international baccalaureate program, or the IB program, is right now offered in more than 100 countries and is really the best way of getting into the very prestigious colleges, especially for students in the 11th and 12th grade," said Peter Samaranayake, head of the school. "We're also working on a middle-years program, which we will be offering to our seventh through tenth graders."
Over the past three years, Montessori has also introduced a "Go Green" program headed by its teachers and faculty. In a recyling program launched last year, students collected 2,000 cans and have continued to have their parents bring their recyclable goods to campus, Hunt said. Students have also been working on an organic garden and a "Solar for Schools" project with grant money from the V.I. Energy Office.
"We have since gotten more funding, and we plan to put a larger 10-kilowatt system on our roof, and the savings from that will be put directly into our financial-aid program," Hunt said. "And hopefully the solar program can kick off with some website data collection from the students, which we will be able to roll out into the other schools."
Students also showed off their musical talents during the weekend event, as guests were serenaded when they walked into the hotel's ballroom with live violin music. The students take private lessons at Montessori, which are offered to kids as young as three years old, said Shournagh McWeeney, the school's former administrator.
"It's really a lovely start to the evening," McWeeney said. "Because tonight is really a special night. It's a social evening. People come here sometimes not really for the gaming, but to meet and greet their friends and have a fabulous time."
Money brought in from the event helps Montessori provide a "high-quality education" to a diverse group of students across the island, said Michael Bornn, president of the school's board.
"This fundraiser is very important to us because at Montessori, we provide a very high quality of education, but we don't come close to charging for it," he said. "Events like this allow us to share what we have with the entire community, so everybody can benefit from our system. So we're hoping that everybody here gives as much as possible, is as generous as possible, and we're anxious to have a good time, to celebrate our past successes to have a good evening and to apply our revenues to new successes."
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Dec. 7, 2008 -- Montessori School and International Academy hosted its 39th Annual Las Vegas Night over the weekend at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Hotel on St. Thomas, with this year's proceeds going not only toward scholarships but also to help build Montessori's new high school and international baccalaureate program.
From early Saturday evening to early Sunday morning, school supporters poured into the hotel to try their hand at the spread of craps, roulette, poker and other games, and placed their bids on a silent auction that offered everything from artwork to furniture.
"One of the things we've done over the years is have each class put together an art project that's auctioned off," said Peggy Hunt, the school's business director. "This is the 39th year we're having Las Vegas Night, and I haven't seen artwork this amazing yet. With the older kids -- that's the 7th graders and up, our international academy students -- we have an oil painting, and some of our first, second and third graders have done a floor mat, which is made out of canvas and painted with acrylic."
In past years, some of the students' artwork has sold for as high as $3,000, Hunt said.
"We have some pretty high bidding wars going on, and that's always the case when it comes to the things the students make," she said. "Sometimes it's between the parents, but sometimes it's between community members that have come out to support us and our wonderful school."
Last year the event pulled in more than $200,000 for the school. Parents and administrators are hoping for the same kind of success this year, as Montessori marks its 45th year by trying to open up an 11th and 12th grade.
"The international baccalaureate program, or the IB program, is right now offered in more than 100 countries and is really the best way of getting into the very prestigious colleges, especially for students in the 11th and 12th grade," said Peter Samaranayake, head of the school. "We're also working on a middle-years program, which we will be offering to our seventh through tenth graders."
Over the past three years, Montessori has also introduced a "Go Green" program headed by its teachers and faculty. In a recyling program launched last year, students collected 2,000 cans and have continued to have their parents bring their recyclable goods to campus, Hunt said. Students have also been working on an organic garden and a "Solar for Schools" project with grant money from the V.I. Energy Office.
"We have since gotten more funding, and we plan to put a larger 10-kilowatt system on our roof, and the savings from that will be put directly into our financial-aid program," Hunt said. "And hopefully the solar program can kick off with some website data collection from the students, which we will be able to roll out into the other schools."
Students also showed off their musical talents during the weekend event, as guests were serenaded when they walked into the hotel's ballroom with live violin music. The students take private lessons at Montessori, which are offered to kids as young as three years old, said Shournagh McWeeney, the school's former administrator.
"It's really a lovely start to the evening," McWeeney said. "Because tonight is really a special night. It's a social evening. People come here sometimes not really for the gaming, but to meet and greet their friends and have a fabulous time."
Money brought in from the event helps Montessori provide a "high-quality education" to a diverse group of students across the island, said Michael Bornn, president of the school's board.
"This fundraiser is very important to us because at Montessori, we provide a very high quality of education, but we don't come close to charging for it," he said. "Events like this allow us to share what we have with the entire community, so everybody can benefit from our system. So we're hoping that everybody here gives as much as possible, is as generous as possible, and we're anxious to have a good time, to celebrate our past successes to have a good evening and to apply our revenues to new successes."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.